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Letter 4744A

Darwin, C. R. to Hennessy, Henry

10 Jan [1868]

    Summary Add

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    Thanks for papers.

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    Discusses case of the Asturian plants and HH's view of their introduction through the agency of man. Although botanists question whether plants are thus introduced, those working closely on insular floras are admitting this view more and more.



[Thanking him for sending his papers and discussing the `case of the Asturian plants'] Your view of their introduction through the agency of man is quite novel, but I suspect the botanists will object that the particular plants in question are unlikely kinds to have been thus introduced.— On the other hand those who most closely study Insular Floras seem to me to admit more & more largely the introduction through man's agency of plants of many kinds

with my best thanks I beg leave to remain | Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Charles Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 4744a.f1
    The year is established by the references to Hennessy 1867a and 1867b (see n. 2, below). According to the sale catalogue, the letter was written on notepaper with the printed address, `Down, Bromley, Kent'; the date 10 January is given in the sale catalogue, but the year given, 1865, appears to be incorrect.
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    f2 4744a.f2
    Copies of Hennessy 1867a and 1867b are in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL. Hennessy 1867b discusses the migration of plants from Asturias, a region of northern Spain, to Ireland.
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    f3 4744a.f3
    Hennessy proposed that plants common to northern Spain and Ireland might have been accidentally introduced to Ireland from Spain by trading or fishing vessels (Hennessy 1867b). CD scored this discussion in his copy of the paper.
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    f4 4744a.f4
    CD had discussed competing theories of plant distribution at length with Joseph Dalton Hooker, most recently in 1866, when Hooker was preparing an address on insular floras (see Correspondence vol. 14, and J. D. Hooker 1866). Hooker argued that components of the Madeiran and New Zealand floras were derived from deliberate introductions; however he admitted that the common flora of Ireland and the Pyrenees could be explained by a former land-bridge between Ireland and the Iberian penninsula (see J. D. Hooker 1866, pp. 14, 75, and 50).
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    f5 4744a.f5
    The original letter is complete and is described in the sale catalogue as being two pages long.
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